By Michael Ferguson, MA
At Goodwin University, embarking on the journey toward an associate degree in Human Services involves more than just coursework. It’s about real-world experiences and impactful internships. Meet HSR 297 and 298, the dynamic duo of human services internship courses, each requiring 90 hours of immersive fieldwork. In these courses, you won’t just clock the hours necessary to earn your degree; you will also be immersed in the field, gaining professional confidence and career-ready experience.
The benefits of Goodwin’s Human Services internships stretch far beyond the classroom. While interns work on developing their professional skills, their placement sites benefit by gaining an invaluable team member.
Read on to learn how Goodwin’s unique Human Services internship opportunities support the success of students and organizations alike.
Choose your own adventure
Unlike many traditional internship experiences, Goodwin’s Human Services program requires you to secure your own placement site. This prospect may sound intimidating, but it’s one of our program’s greatest strengths. With the freedom to design your internship, you can choose a placement relevant to your professional goals and interests. Moreover, the process of securing your internship will prepare you with the skills necessary to find employment after graduation.
Our Human Services faculty will support you throughout this process. Planning for the internship courses begins well before the semester starts. You will plan to meet with me, as internship coordinator, approximately two months before you begin fieldwork. In addition to reviewing our program’s expectations, I will walk you through the steps essential to securing your placement site.
If you’re pursuing a BS in Human Services rather than an associate degree, your experience will be similar, albeit more extensive. In addition to our two internship classes, BS students must complete two capstones. Both capstones have fieldwork requirements and must be completed in separate semesters. HSR 493 requires you to complete 120 hours, and HSR 494 requires 60.
Interested in learning more about our Human Services internships? Check out this video to hear how Goodwin students navigate the process of finding a fieldwork site.
Dive into the field and develop your skills
The process of securing your own internship is similar to job hunting. You must contact possible placement sites by phone, email, or both. You’ll typically be required to complete an interview, and after securing your placement, you must complete a detailed agreement form. This process will prepare you with career-ready skills indispensable to your future as a human services professional.
In addition to gaining vital skills, our internships allow you to explore the vast breadth and depth of the human services field. Because human services encompasses a wide range of roles and positions, you can use your internship experience to explore different areas of the field and determine which interests you the most.
Tailor your internship to your timetable
An added benefit of taking charge of your internship journey is the freedom and flexibility that it offers. We understand the juggling act many of our students manage to navigate their professional, personal, and academic responsibilities. By designing your own internship experience, you can choose to complete your hours during the day, evening, weekend, or any combination thereof. It’s a dance between student availability and supervisor collaboration, ensuring a tailored, meaningful experience.
Your internship hours will be made all the more meaningful by the non-fieldwork components of your coursework. By joining weekly Zoom classes and completing reflective journal assignments, our faculty will monitor your progress, provide guidance and support, and help you optimize this integral experience.
While many career paths can help you make a meaningful difference, few offer the freedom and flexibility of human services. With opportunities to provide essential support in countless settings, the chances to find professional fulfillment are endless. At Goodwin, you’ll receive the comprehensive education and hands-on training necessary to make the most of your future career in human services. Learn more about Goodwin’s Human Services programs today!
Explore endless opportunities
Our students are making their impact at various sites across Connecticut, from the Alzheimer’s Association to the Root Center. Organizations aren’t just hosting interns; they are gaining enthusiastic team members who are eager and ready to learn. Interns support research, develop presentations, and engage in community outreach. It’s a dynamic partnership where roles and responsibilities are defined in detailed learning agreements. Supervisors guide, support, and evaluate their interns, creating a meaningful and mutually beneficial experience.
An internship with an impact
For Skyler Joseph, interning at the Connecticut chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association has been personally and professionally impactful. “My coworkers at the Association have been very supportive and generous,” Joseph shares. “I have been able to create collaborations with employers to help promote our cause, including my own employer. I have also made calls and sent emails to local clinics in the Hartford area to help support patients and promote education and awareness.”
The Development Coordinator for the Connecticut chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, Jess Tessman, echoes Joseph’s positive sentiments. “Our Goodwin University Human Services interns are hardworking and consistently go above and beyond, making them a valuable asset to any company or organization that finds themselves fortunate enough to have them,” Tessman expresses. “I trust them completely and can always count on their support, especially during our busiest times. I have no doubt their work ethic and commitment will lead them to great success in their future endeavors. It’s been a pleasure to have them as part of our team.”
Sharing in Tessman’s high regard for our interns is Amanda Ayers, a Senior Counselor at the Root Center. “Having interns complete their fieldwork at the Root Center has allowed for rich and beneficial experiences for interns and agencies alike,” Ayers explains. “Interns bring a fresh perspective, an eagerness to learn, and unremitting hope that can be a reminder for those of us who have been in the field for so long. In turn, interns benefit from the experiences, knowledge, and wisdom of supervisors and clinicians in the field.”
Apply classroom learning to real-world scenarios
Ayers stresses that internships provide Human Services students with knowledge, skills, and tools that are essential to their future success in the field. “There is nothing quite like a hands-on, real-time learning experience to prepare these eager students for a career in human services,” she offers.
Our students are in agreement — expressing how their internship placements help them develop a deeper understanding of the concepts learned in class. Sylvia Garcia, an intern at our on-campus Ann B. Clark Co-op, highlights this. “An internship allows us to home in on the skills we have learned in our courses,” she delineates. “I look forward to continuing to gain as much knowledge as I can so I can better serve the individuals I come in contact with during my professional career.”
David Rodriguez reiterates the immense value of Human Services internships. In addition to receiving hands-on training, he’s found valuable guidance interning for the Department of Children and Families (DCF). “My host supervisor is amazing. She has gone above and beyond in helping me learn DCF protocols,” he illustrates. “One thing she has done that I really appreciate is critique my notetaking. I hope to be employed by DCF after I graduate, so if I can improve in any way, I want to know.”
Achieve your goals at Goodwin
Prospective students, intrigued by the world of human services, are invited to explore the transformative programs at Goodwin. And for potential community partners, reach out and discover how your organization can collaborate with Goodwin University. Let’s build a future of positive change together.
Michael Ferguson is an Assistant Professor and the Internship Coordinator of Human Services at Goodwin University, having joined the University in 2022.
Michael previously served as State Representative for the 138th District in the Connecticut General Assembly from 2017-2019 and sat on the Transportation, Education, and Internship Committees. He is a former member of the Danbury Board of Education and past Chairman of the Danbury Student and Business Connection, a non-profit organization serving Danbury students. Michael is also a political consultant at Political VIP where he provides guidance to political candidates and organizations throughout the country.
Michael has presented at various conferences over the years and has been a guest on WATR Radio, Fox 61, and WFSB Channel 3 to discuss current political events. He is just recently published an anthology textbook focused on American Government.
Michael graduated from Western Connecticut State University with his Bachelor’s Degree in 2013 and Master’s Degree in 2016. He is a lifelong resident of Danbury, Connecticut.